Warning: This post may offend some readers bc I’m going to talk about that most dreaded of words: P R I V I L E G E. While there are many types of privilege and multiple social groups that benefit from the concept, all too often, I hear the whines of white folks who deny the existence of White Privilege. Denial to the point of Losing. Their. Shit. The way some of them (please note the wording for you #notallwhitz people) react to that word, you’d think speaking it conjured a demonic entity that spews vomit, does 360º head spins, masturbates with a cross, and wants to spend eternity joined in unholy matrimony by their side. Common refrains of “I’m not privileged. I’ve had a hard life” or “I grew up poor, how can you say I have privilege” can be heard by these poor beleaguered souls doomed to an eternity of matrimonial bliss by the side of a demon from the nether regions of hell. But really, I need you folks to calm down. Stop being so damned testerical. Breathe. Engage those logical thought processes that you are so fond of proclaiming you possess and listen. Yes, it’s that time again. That time when you sit down, shut up, and listen. I’m going to attempt for the umpteen thousandth time to explain the concept of privilege. I have no idea why bc to be honest, bc some of you nincomfucks are *still* not going to get it. But here goes:
When I awoke on June 12, I reached for my cellphone as I always do upon waking, and saw a group message from my sister to our parents and myself. The message was about the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. She was letting us know that she was safe. See, my sister and my parents all live in Orlando. In fact, my sister lives with a roommate just a few miles from Pulse. Moreover, she’s friends with many people in the queer community down there, and has been to that club before. I was deeply, deeply heartened to know that she wasn’t among the victims of that horrific tragedy (nor was her roommate, who actually considered going there that night.Normally when I wake in the morning, I need about half an hour to become alert and “with it”. Not on that day. The news immediately rocked me out of my post-sleep slump. I searched around for more information on the shooting and found that 20 people were listed dead with many more injured. A few hours later, that number shot up to 50, though it was later learned that one of the people listed among the dead was actually alive. Wielding a semi-automatic pistol and an AR-15 rifle (both quick-reloading weapons) that he was able to buy with ease roughly a week before his attack, Mateen ruthlessly, maliciously, destroyed dozens upon dozens of LGBTQIA lives. His actions also irrevocably altered the lives of those victims who survived, some of whom are still fighting to stay alive. The act of terror also had a ripple effect, extending outward from Orlando to the rest of the state and beyond. How could it not? It felt like….it WAS an act of terror upon a community constantly faced with an oppressive heteronormative, cisnormative society that says YOUR LIVES DON’T MATTER. Like many, I was struck by the horror of that day. I was affected as were so many others. I do not pretend to have been victimized like those that died, or the survivors. But as a member of the LGBTQIA community, the events of that night did have an effect upon me. The following is less a blog post and more of an attempt to get my thoughts out in something resembling a coherent form.